Canada is the second-largest country in the world. It stretches more than 5,500 kilometres from Newfoundland on the Atlantic coast to Vancouver Island on the Pacific Ocean. The world’s longest undefended border separates Canada from the United States to the south.

Canada has six natural regions. The Atlantic provinces have a mixture of fertile valleys, small mountains and rugged forests. The Canadian Shield, which covers much of Ontario and Quebec, is the largest region, with rocky hills, evergreen forests and many lakes. To the south are lush forests and rich farmland along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. This area is home to more than 60% of the population. The flat prairie provinces are known for their fields of wheat and canola. Further west are the high peaks, vast forests and rugged territory of the Rocky Mountains, which extend to the Pacific Ocean. In the Far North the ground is frozen year-round. No trees grow on the flat tundra.

The different landscapes have different climatic zones. The Far North is like a cold desert. With low temperatures and little moisture, hardly any snow falls in this region, but the snow that does fall stays for many months. The west coast has a milder climate and more rainfall than the rest of the country.

Most Canadians experience four distinct seasons. Snow falls in the winter and the days are short and cold. In spring, the snow begins to melt and farmers plant their crops. Summers are hot and, in some regions, very humid. In fall, the nights are cold and the leaves turn red or yellow and drop from the trees.

  Did you know?
Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, is connected to the mainland by a long bridge that opened in 1998. The 12.9-km-long Confederation Bridge was designed by Canadian engineers to withstand ice, wind, and even boats crashing into it.

  Did you know?
Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s most famous landmarks. The Canadian falls are 54 metres high and horseshoe-shaped. Part of the huge volume of water in the Niagara River has been diverted from the falls; it enters an underground tunnel leading to a hydroelectric plant.